Enda McGuill Cup Final: Cobh Ramblers 3-2 Drogheda United

The victorious Cobh Ramblers U19 Squad with the Enda McGuill Cup – Photo: Mike Bardsley

Cobh Ramblers were crowned the 2014 Enda McGuill Cup champions after a 3-2 win over Drogheda United at St Colman’s Park on Wednesday night. A brace from captain Keith O’Flynn either side of a Sean O’Mahony header gave Ramblers the win in front of a huge crowd at the historical ground. This ensures that the trophy remains in Cork following in the footsteps of rivals Cork City, who won it the last two years.

Cobh started without the suspended duo of Jonathan Creamer and Kelvin Thompson but had no injury concerns going into the tie. There was a terrific atmosphere around the ground and plenty of notable spectators including Ireland u19 manager Paul Doolin.

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Cobh Ramblers U19 starting line-up. Photo: Mike Bardsley

Ramblers looked very nervous at the beginning and Drogheda couldn’t have started the game any better. Within 3 minutes of the start they took the lead. Poor defending and lacklustre tackles allowed Dominic Mahon to run through the defence and he calmly slotted the ball home past the stranded Steven Hickey. The ground was shell-shocked. Cobh didn’t let their heads drop though. They gathered themselves and went close through a George Gill free-kick. Ryan Goldsmith was impressive throughout and he was a constant threat. His cross found young midfielder Gill but his header went wide. It seemed like all the early chances were falling to Gill and he had another volley that went just wide from close range. There were plenty of tackles and it got physical midway through the first half. There was never an ill-tempered feel to the game though and it was a superb, honest match. Cobh finally scored their equaliser and it was the captain Keith O’Flynn who got it. It had been written in the script. Gill whipped in a menacing free kick from the left and O’Flynn rose highest to head it home off the post. There was a huge cheer from the crowd especially for the local captain to score it. Drogheda almost took the lead minutes later when Hickey, in his only mistake of the game, called for a cross but failed to catch it. It  fell to Drogs striker Dean Cregan but his effort skewed wide. Cobh were in front on 44 minutes with another header. After some neat build up the ball was whipped into the box and a diving header from giant centre-back Sean O’Mahony finished in the back of the net. The half could not have ended better and Ramblers went in 2-1 up to a rapturous applause.

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U19 Captain and two-goal hero Keith O’Flynn with the Enda McGuill Cup. Photo: Mike Bardsley

They continued where they let off after the restart. On 52 minutes, O’Flynn headed home his second of the game. Chris McCarthy and Goldsmith linked up well with the latter striking a fierce effort. It was parried by Evin Farrell and fell to the captain. He duly tapped home the header and the fans went wild.  Although still plenty to go, it seemed that the party had begun amongst the fans. The impressive Jordan Harmon almost pulled one back with a close range volley but Hickey made a brilliant point blank save to deny him. Soon after, Hickey produced the save of the night from an excellent 25 yard Drogheda free kick. O’Flynn really should have wrapped it up midway through the half. Dave Walsh played him in and 1 on 1 with the keeper, he went for the audacious chip but it didn’t pay off and was easily gathered. On 80 minutes the Louth side were given a lifeline when substitute Shaun Bannon prodded the ball home on the box with one of his first touches. There was another chance for O’Flynn to seal it on the turn but it was well saved. The crowd were on edge waiting for Dave Keeler to blow it up.

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Manager Martin Cambridge (centre), Backroom Staff and Players after winning the Enda McGuill FAI U19 Cup. Photo: Mike Bardsley

The final whistle eventually came to the pure delight of the Cobh fans. It was like the good days all over again as the stand erupted in cheers. Both sets of players had given it everything but the home support pushed Cobh over the line. For the likes of O’Flynn, Murphy and O’Mahony it is a fitting end to their time at u19 level. There was joy on the face of every Cobh fan around and it was truly deserved. Credit must be given to Drogheda who played tremendous and put in a huge effort. The night belonged to the Islanders though and the celebrations continued long into the night. Captain Keith O’Flynn was awarded the prestigious Enda McGuill Cup on the pitch surrounded by friends, family, coaches, supporters and everyone got to do with the club. It was a night not to be forgotten and will go down in the club’s history.

A momentous occasion for Cobh Ramblers and if anything it shows that Cobh football is on its way back. It hasn’t been easy but days like this make it all worth it. These players are the club’s future and this shows that the future is bright!

Cobh Ramblers: Steven Hickey, Cian Kelleher, Sean O’Mahony, Ryan Meany, Cian Murphy, Chris McCarthy, George Gill (Danny Barry 84) Rob Lynch, Dave Walsh, Ryan Goldsmith, Keith O’Flynn (C) (David O’Gorman 90)

Substitutes: Kyle Falvey, Mike Meaney, Jack Maguire, Corey Crowley, Alan Minihane

Drogheda United: Evin Farrell, Niall Sharkey, Roy Kierans (C), Ciaran O’Connor, Ciaran Cluskey Kelly, Dominic Mahon, Jordan Harmon (Shaun Bannon 78), Robert Cashman (Eden Burke 85), Dean Cregan, Dale Harding, Luke Coates

Substitutes: Jamie Douglas

By Thomas Stafford

Cobh Ramblers FC

Cobh Ramblers Football Club is an Irish football club. The club, founded in 1922 and elected to the League of Ireland in 1985, hails from Cobh, County Cork and play their home matches at St. Colman's Park. The club's colours are claret and blue.